1. ALESSANDRO NESTA on Lionel Messi, 2011
This tackle by experienced and cultured centre-back Alessandro Nesta – the new Mr Milan now that Paolo Maldini has retired – became something of a cult hit beloved by defenders worldwide, and a sign to any player anywhere that the impossible is possible.
The reason for its god-like status is simple. While Nesta remains a class act at the back, the difference in talent between the Italian and Leo Messi is measurable only in light years (no offence meant). Getting the ball off The Flea has been compared to brain surgery in terms of difficulty.
No wonder the Argentine wonder beats the ground in frustration. He has just been dispossessed in the box by a man 11 years his senior, and to absolute perfection.
It is very rare that Barcelona’s diminutive maestro is tackled, so in a way it's unsurprising that Nesta pulls it off with such aplomb. He has to.
The old hand tracks the tricky forward carefully, and like a hunter, pounces at the right moment, knocking the ball away with a well-orchestrated slide, exquisitely timed to ensure the chance of contact with Messi is at a minimum.
Take a bow, dad.